Think back to the election...Tina Fey...Maverick...yay, we won! Remember Joe the Plumber? Didn't it turn out that he wasn't really a plumber? Anyway, he got a book deal, with a ghostwriter I'm sure. Here he is shown above at a reading of his new book. The post I read said he sold a whopping five copies.

THIS is what is wrong with America. We don't (often) reward knowledge or experience, or even eloquence. We reward whatever idiot happens to be standing in the right place at the right time. Joe the (not really a) Plumber gets a book deal for...what exactly? Whipping up the conservatives to breath some fire into a dying campaign? I suppose I should just be grateful no one has put him on TV. (If someone has I do NOT want to know.)

What seems most tragic to me is that the man agreed to it. I'm sure it was good pay for minimal work, but my God, there's not enough money in the world to make me go out and read words I didn't write about ideas I never had in front of people I don't know. I know times are tough but just how much is the going rate for ones dignity?

What happened to critical thinking, and when did so many of us abandon it for whatever message gets shouted loudest? Shouldn't our collective experience strive to be something more?

Rooms We Don't Have: Second in the series

We still don't know if we're going to try to sell our place or not, but never one to let firm plans get in my way, I've been thinking about bathrooms and looking at fixtures.

First up, the Powder Room: What is it about the guest bath that tempts people to go crazy? Paint colors that don't appear anywhere else in the house, overly-ambitious art installations, inadequate lighting, tiny mirrors, you've seen one if not all of the above. They're the rooms decor magazines describe as "a jewel box."

Don't get me wrong, I'm always for a bit of style, and I don't even mind a little drama, but not at the expense of function. And the function of your half bath is for folks to relieve themselves, wash up, and check their look so they can return to the party. For mine I want simple, clean, and modern.

What could be more simple or more modern than the Kohler Purist hatbox toilet? Simple and stylish, and in white it works with anything.

Also from the Purist suite, the towel holder above is clean and simple. I'd use a lav faucet from the same collection, they make one in any configuration you need. All in polished chrome.

Turning to the master bath, this is where I think more is more. It's where you start every day, so why not make it a show-stopper. In our next bedroom I'm hoping to cover the walls with a finely scaled grasscloth in a pale silvery gray, so I want to stay with whites and grays, polished chrome and black.

How much do I love this 1X2 carrera mosaic in a herringbone pattern for the floor? Actually, I'd line the walls with a six inch border of black marble for definition, then fill in with this. Stunning, and $9.45 a square foot on eBay. Eric Negrete, a designer here in town once said to me "it's never about money, it's always about style." Plus there's always somewhere else to spend more.

The same seller offers a matching carrera 3X6 subway tile for $7.45 a foot. That's a deal, so lets take it all the way to the ceiling in the shower, around the tub, behind the sinks, and leave ourselves one accent wall that we'll paint a beautiful flat black. Polished chrome hardware again, thick white towels, graphic and timeless.

For sinks all I want is a roomy white undermount, although I'm not sure what I want for the vanity. The toilet above is from the For Loft collection by Michael S. Smith for Kallista, and I'm choosing it because I'm totally digging the base. The problem is there's no matching (or coordinating) bidet. I know, bidets are an anomaly in America. When we were in Sitges there was one in our hotel room so I thought "what the hell." Frankly I don't know why they're not more popular here, I think they're fab. Brett still talks about his high school trip to Europe when he and his classmates deduced that it must be a bathtub for babies.

So there we go, bathroom basics for more rooms in my head. Next up, I'll plan the new kitchen. Or we'll decide to stay put, in which case we'll be freshing the decor here at Chez Malaise. I've already measured and that Ethan Allen lantern will totally fit in my entry. Decorina, I had a friend who worked at EA too, and you're absolutely right about how they treat their designers. If I go with it I'll be sure to order one in-store.


Something's up. I can post, and I can edit posts, but I can't view my own blog at home. I can at work, but my personal laptop just brings up an aol search page every time I try. And I'm not even using AOL, just plain old Internet Explorer.

Have you ever had a similar issue?

Got the light, all I need is the dining room

Our realtor showed us a house last week, so I'm shopping again for the rooms in my head. The dining room in this particular 1952 ranch has great mouldings and a coved ceiling. This polished nickel lantern is 14 inches in diameter by 24 inches long. Imagine a pair of them hanging over my dining room table. Sorry the picture is so tiny, the website would only let me crib the thumbnail.
***Update*** I totally forgot to give credit. The lantern is from Ethan Allen, believe it or not. $619 each. Not inexpensive, but you could certainly spend a lot more, it doesn't seem out of line to me. If you want to see a bigger picture, they've redone their website, and I like the new look and functionality. It also appears that you can buy most non-custom items online now, which was looooong overdue. There are plenty of us who don't want to go in and work with their design consultants, but would be happy to order something online.

I have to learn to upholster

Alright, that chair I want to recover has turned into those chairs I want to recover. I'm trying not to fill the workshop to the ceiling, but when it's a solid old Drexel lounge chair with klismos-like lines, and you can pick it up for five bucks, I really can't pass that up.

Halfway there

What have I been up to? Painting the secretary, and not much else. The undercoat, or more correctly undercoats, were finished today. A small roller has been my friend, used for all the flat surfaces, especially the cubbies inside the cabinet. A fully loaded brush painted the corners and spots where the roller couldn't reach.

Should you ever decide to take on a similar project, you'll no doubt remove any drawers and take off the doors. Here's my tip, take off the back panel as well. Access from both sides makes painting MUCH easier and faster. Sorry that second photo is oriented wrong, Blogger's being a jerk again.
Topcoating and aging begin tomorrow, so I should have a complete before-and-after to show very soon!

I'm horrible

There was just a story on the news about some poor girl who was working at a car wash when her scarf became wrapped around one of the rotating brushes. (scarf? way to go glamour puss) It strangled her and caused her to pass out as it sucked her closer and closer to the rotating bristles. A customer managed to free her, and other than multiple cuts and facial bruises, she's resting comfortably.

The reporter described the girl's memory of the incident as....spotty.

Coming attractions

Alright, it's time for some before shots! The platter above I picked up at the auction last week. As you can see, it's covered with darkened scratches ("utensil marks" as they say on eBay, because it sounds less like a flaw) and a bit of brown staining. The back, which I did not take time to shoot, is almost entirely covered with brown stains. Connie, always my buddy, has learned from Laveigh how to make that all go away. She took it home to work her magic, and when I have an after shot to go with, we'll revisit.
Sales continue to be good at my mall so I'm trying to get some things ready to go should they call to tell me I've got an empty spot. I've had this little secretary sitting around since late last summer, and just wasn't sure what I wanted to do. That blue chest of drawers was apparently a big hit, so you won't be surprised that I'm doing something with that color again.

I got started this weekend first by filling the split in the drop front, and then scrubbing the whole thing down with a cleaner and deglosser. Those cubbies were going to be impossible to sand properly even after I removed the back panel, so I've tried a new paint additive called Extra Bond. It's made to mix into milk paint for use on previously finished surfaces.

When I went back to the workshop this morning, before even taking off my jacket, I ran over and scraped a fingernail over a painted corner. And my basecoat stuck! I'm really excited because not only will this save me major time on things that I can't easily sand, but it increases my confidence in the longevity of the finish.
I've always said that I don't expect people to keep my furniture forever (bully for me if they do), but that doesn't mean I don't care about the quality of the job. This isn't fine furniture and I price it accordingly, but I'd like to be sure when people stop using something they bought from me it's because their taste has changed and not because it hasn't held up
I hope to spend a bit of time working on the piece this week, so when it's all done I'll take a few more shots and walk you through my process.

What is this?

I probably should have asked this question before I listed it on eBay, but do any of you have any idea what this is? I picked it up at an auction (surprise) and someone said it was a honey pot. That makes sense I guess from the shape of it, if you had some honey still in the comb you would want some room under the lid. It's yellowware, of indeterminate age, but not new.
Drop me a note if you have an idea. Or a good guess.

Viewer Mail

Part of what I love about blogging is that at times it becomes an extended conversation. What I don't love is that I'm bad about catching comments more than a couple posts back. Luckily, Brett reads my posts and the comments faithfully, so if he mentions something unfamiliar I know to backtrack. With that in mind, Decorina, you should be able to buy the paint at Woodcraft. Their website shows the Denver location is:

6770 S. Peoria St.
Centennial, CO 80112

Call them first in case they don't have it, the number listed is (303) 290-0007

Jamie Meares, does being a wholesaler for AA mean you can get me a better deal on the deep vee summer tee shirt three pack? I'm the kind of boy who's more comfortable wearing an undershirt most of the time. I'm also the kind of boy that likes to undo one more button on occasion, and these are great because they're deep and don't show. (Why are regular undershirt v-necks so shallow?!) Anyway Jamie, my email is, let me know whats up. Please include Rowdy pics and as much Rowdy news as you feel like typing.

HG: I was done painting a chair today when I realized I had not taken a Before shot. I'm starting on the secretary tomorrow and WILL shoot it before I get going. Promise.

Soodie: I don't know what's going on with the apparent buying spree. Those candlesticks a few posts below ended up selling for $61.00. They were a nice quality certainly, and fun in a retro way, but I was shocked when the auction was over. Maybe everyone's just had enough of the gloom and doom and has decided to treat themselves, I don't know. Whatever it is, I hope it continues.

Junk in my trunk

There are fewer auctions in the winter months, so it follows that the crowds get bigger. Tonight was the regular Tuesday night consignment auction at Kansas City Auction Company and it seemed more crowded than ever. Jason, the auctioneer and owner, thinks last auction's crowd was bigger but I'm not convinced.

There were a few good things, but nothing I was dying to buy, either for the mall or myself, but my friends Connie and Linda were there with Connie's friend Laveigh, so I stayed. Winning bids were higher with the larger crowd, so it was a full couple of hours before I even bought anything.

Laveigh is teaching Connie to repair porcelain and pottery and she's interesting to talk to. She showed me pictures of a recent project that were truly amazing. It was a clock in a hand painted Dresden porcelain mount that had literally been smashed and put back together with elmers glue and tape. She had shots of each stage in the process and after she was done there wasn't so much as a chip or a paint flake. Connie keeps me posted on what she's learning so I knew that Laveigh was good, but seeing the progression in pictures gives me a whole new respect.

The girls had pretty much bought what they wanted and headed out early, as did much of the crowd. The prices dropped a bit, and I managed to pick up a few pieces that will be good to paint. I paid probably twice what I would have with less competition, but there's still plenty of room for profit. I did get a killer deal on a wall-mount plate rack and some vintage luggage, as well as one lone wood chair that I'll paint for us to use in our office/den here at home. A couple framed classical prints and some unmatted Audubons rounded out my haul.

I've taken the next couple days off from the day job to spend at the workshop, in hopes I can keep furniture moving at the mall. I've set my camera out where I'll remember it, so I should have project shots to share very soon.

Economic recovery

Are you feeling better about the economy since the inauguration?

Some folks apparently are, the blue chest in the post below hit the floor Thursday, and they called me early this afternoon to let me know it sold, leaving a big hole in my space. It was a fun piece and I'm not really surprised that it sold, I am surprised that it sold so quickly. Brett thinks I price too cheaply. I say I'm there to sell, not to exhibit.

When I went to rearrange today another dealer was working in her space near mine. I asked if her sales were up or if she had any idea why my furniture seems to be flying out of there. She thinks that people get their trees and holiday decoration down and end up with some empty spots. I mentioned it to a friend tonight and he thinks that people still want to do things around the house, they're just spending less and getting creative in where they shop. Both sound plausible to me.

I did notice one thing, and for some reason it bugs me. Another dealer bought the cool industrial table, and is using it in their space. They've tagged it not for sale at this time, and I've made my money on it, but it still bothers me. I've seen a couple of my things in other antique malls, and while I don't understand dealers paying retail, I guess it's their call. On the other hand, buying something and just moving it downstairs seems somehow wrong.

Net result, I'm behind the curve on painting yet again. I've got a few small pieces in various beginning stages, and a huge china cabinet that's going to take a while to finish because of what I'm planning to do. I guess the next piece to work on is this sad, small secretary I've had sitting around waiting for inspiration. (HG, I'll try to remember to take some before shots, sometimes the transformation really is amazing.)

So back to the original question. How are you feeling about things? The news still seems pretty grim to me. But not so grim that I couldn't treat myself to a new pair of Mark Nason boots. (yay Bluefly!)